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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Review: When Wanderers Cease to Roam by Vivian Swift

Title: When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler's Journal of Staying Put
Author: Vivian Swift
Pages: 208
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (October 28, 2008)
Genre: Memoir
Edition: Standard Edition

Perfect for : Personal reading, Gift book, Great coffee table book

In a nutshell: I really enjoyed this delightful book. The author has a way of sharing things she observed or thought, causing me to look at my surroundings differently. She has grouped thoughts, experiences, facts, etc into the months of the year (as opposed to chapters). In January, there are some great facts associated with the calendar and the month, thoughts about dressing warmly, journal entries, and some good examples to help you look at things through a new perspective. The drawings done by the author are charming, and her thoughts expressive and captivating. I found myself lost in the new world surrounding me as I looked at things more closely. There are so many delightful things in this book! On pages 44-45, the author shares little bits and drawings of her charming tea cup collection - it made me want to brew a cup of tea and curl up with a warm blanket to keep reading!

From the inside cover:
A charming, illustrated celebration of puttering, doodling, daydreaming, and settling down after years on the road.

Following a lifetime of trekking across the globe, Vivian Swift, who racked up twenty-three temporary addresses in twenty years, finally dropped her well-worn futon mattress and rucksack in a small town on the edge of the Long Island Sound. She spent the next decade quietly taking stock of her life, her immediate surroundings, and, finally, what it means to call a place a home.

The result is When Wanderers Cease to Roam. Filled with beautiful watercolors of local landscapes, seasonal activities, and small, overlooked pleasures of easy living, each chapter chronicles the perks of remaining at home in a little town, including recipes, hobbies, and prized possessions. At once gorgeously rendered and wholly original, this delightful and masterfully observed year of staying put conjures everything from youthful yearnings and romantic travels to lumpy homemade sweaters and the gradations of March mud.

First Paragraph: January is the Warrior Month because it takes a warrior to soldier through these cold, dark, harsh January days. This must be why the Romans put January at the head of the calendar, the better to teach the most important lesson of the year, that: What it takes to get through January is what it takes to get through LIFE.

My Review:
Something I found very interesting - on the copyright page, there is a note that says, "The entire text of this book has been hand lettered by the author." It really gives the book that personal feeling, that you are really reading the authors personal thoughts and observations. I don't think there was a page in the book that didn't make me smile at least once!

Characters: The book reads like a journal of sorts - of the author's personal thoughts and observations. As such, she is the main character, and her experiences are very enjoyable. She has a great sense of humor.

Story-Line: There wasn't really a traditional story-line, but rather, groups of thoughts and observations that fit well together and flowed nicely from one month to the next.

Readability: This was a very fun read. The use of different information (thoughts, diary entries, facts, charming drawings and watercolors, etc). I really liked that I could start and stop at any time without feeling I needed to complete a "chapter" first.

Overall: A very delightful book! Even if you don't normally read this type of book, stretch outside your comfort zone and give this book a try! It would also make a great gift when going to celebrations or parties.

About the Author: (from the book dust jacket)
Vivian Swift is a freelance writer and former assistant vice president of Christie's Inc. This is her first book.


Anonymous said...

Boy, you read that fast! I haven't even gotten it yet.

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